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Village housing plans delayed over inspector’s ‘horrifying’ comments

PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:08 16 June 2020

A draft plan for development in a Norfolk village has been delayed following shock over a planning examiners horrifying changes. Pictured, Poringland village sign. Photo: Andrew Tullett

A draft plan for development in a Norfolk village has been delayed following shock over a planning examiners horrifying changes. Pictured, Poringland village sign. Photo: Andrew Tullett

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A draft plan for development in a Norfolk village has been delayed following shock over a planning examiner’s “horrifying” changes.

A draft plan for development in a Norfolk village has been delayed following shock over a planning examiner’s “horrifying” changes.

South Norfolk councillors have refused to accept changes to the Poringland Neighbourhood Plan made by an independent planning examiner, after the words “small scale” were included in edits to planning policies.

It came after the warnings of a “tipping point” for residents, as the examiner’s report was slammed as “horrifying” and “open to massive interpretation”.

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Poringland parish council have developed a draft neighbourhood plan to help guide development in the area, alongside wider plans for South Norfolk as a whole.

But after the report was sent to independent planning consultant Deborah McCann, issues were raised with her feedback on the draft policies in the document.

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The council was unhappy about the examiner’s addition of “small scale” into the second policy, which planning officers said was “not defined and has implications for the scale of development outside the settlement boundary”.

And at a meeting of South Norfolk cabinet held on Monday, June 15, council leader John Fuller said the issue “comes down to the definition of small scale”.

He said: “There is inconsistency between what we think is reasonable and what the examiner thinks. It’s open to massive interpretation. We’re explained it ought to be a hectare of less - I’m not really sure about that. As I see it, most of it is uncontroversial but we need to form a view around what is small scale.”

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And John Joyce, from the parish council, added: “One of the biggest issues that came out was the scale of development in Poringland in recent years. When the examiners report came back it was slightly horrifying. There will be an awful lot of disenchantment if we end up with wishy washy terms like that.”

But Kay Mason-Billig, vice-chairman of the council, asked which sites could be affected and said: “The fight over something which might not be significant - there’s going to be a lot of extra costs involved.”

But ward member Alison Thomas said: “We should deliver what residents want. Poringland has had so much development over the years - a few small scale developments could be a tipping point for the community.”

Councillors agreed to have a six week consultation before deciding if a second inspection was needed.

READ MORE: Council leader discloses role in ‘promoting’ land for development vision


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